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Published 23rd October 1998

Vol 39 No 21

Sierra Leone

Militias and market forces

Undaunted by Western political opposition and Africa's rebel militias, the private armies are expanding their portfolios

Private military companies are stronger than ever in Africa, six months after the political row over the relations between Sandline and British officials (AC Vol 39 No 11). Yet the controversy over these unregulated companies with official access continues to simmer in Britain. Several members of parliament believe that the independent inquiry, set up after the row over the Sandline security company’s role in reinstating President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, left too many questions unanswered. Some are particularly concerned that Sir Thomas Legg’s 160-page report in July overlooked what they consider the key role of Britain’s civil and military intelligence agencies in the Sandline affair. On 3 November, Sandline director Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer is due before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee to answer questions about his company’s operations in Sierra Leone. Soon afterwards, Sir David Spedding, chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), is to give evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee.

My Arabism tired me out

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A restless Gadaffi denounces Arab governments and looks for African friends

Hell hath no fury like a Libyan leader scorned. Having assiduously and unsuccessfully wooed Arab states during his 29 years in power, Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi is now courting Sub...

Devastating debts

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Arguments among rich countries are slowing progress on cutting Africa's debts

Africa’s hopes for more debt relief are caught between rich countries squabbling over who is to pay for the debt cuts and an increasingly militant international campaign to write o...

Moving deadlines

OAU negotiators are desperate to secure peace before the rains end

For now, hopes of agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia rest on the Organisation of African Unity. The former Director of the United States’ National Security Council, Anthony Lak...


War winnings

Officials at Congo-Kinshasa’s state mining company Gécamines confirm that control of the Central Group of copper and cobalt mines around Likasi, (with associated facilities, includ...

Call the lawyers

In a deal with São Tomé Petroleum, America's Mobil has bought information rights to all 22 of the blocks on offer. The most promising strip of sea-bed lies along the disputed bound...


‘Top-down’ leadership conferences, such as Sodere and Cairo last year (AC Vol 39 No 8) are now out and seem to be being replaced, as many have long hoped, by a ‘bottom-up’ approach...

Cousins call

Just as the Congo rebels’ main backers had at last admitted their involvement in the civil war, a nasty row broke out between their military men. It began on 6 October, with a long...